Then and Now: Republican Senators Admit Hypocrisy On Confirmation of Supreme Court Justice During an Election Year

07.23.20

Other Republican Senators Should Be Pushed On Whether They Agree With Mitch McConnell In 2016 Or With Mitch McConnell Now

After stealing a Supreme Court seat from President Obama in 2016, Republican Senators are now making clear they never believed the argument they used to justify it to the public.

On Monday, CNN reported that Republican leaders are undeterred by their own hypocrisy, vowing to fill an election-year vacancy, potentially even during a lame-duck session, despite blocking President Obama’s March 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland. Even Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley recognizes the absurdity of the situation, telling CNN “if I were chairman of the committee I couldn’t move forward with it.”

Some Republican Senators, such as Sen. Tillis, are trying to duck their hypocrisy by refusing to give a position on the matter. All Republican Senators should be pushed on whether they would break their own rules to benefit Donald Trump.

Mitch McConnell then: “Given that we are in the midst of the presidential election process, we believe that the American people should seize the opportunity to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate the next person for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court,” [Mitch McConnell ini a Washington Post Op-Ed, 2/18/26]

Mitch McConnell now: “‘Oh, we’d fill it,’ McConnell told supporters in Kentucky on Tuesday when asked what he would do if a Supreme Court justice died in 2020 while President Trump was still in office, as CNN reported.” [Washington Post, 5/29/2019]

Joni Ernst then: “Before filling a vacancy on the Supreme Court, we need to hear the voices of the American people.” [Twitter, @joniernst, 3/16/16]

Joni Ernst now: “(If) it is a lame-duck session, I would support going ahead with any hearings that we might have,” she said. “And if it comes to an appointment prior to the end of the year, I would be supportive of that.” [CNN7/21/20]

Lindsey Graham then: “If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election” [Lindsey Graham at the Atlantic Ideas Festival, 10/3/2018]

Lindsey Graham now: “’I’d like to fill a vacancy. But we’d have to see. I don’t know how practical that would be,’ Graham told CNN Monday. ‘Let’s see what the market would bear.’” [CNN7/21/20]

John Thune then: “The American people deserve to have their voices heard on the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice, who could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court for a generation. Since the next presidential election is already underway, the next president should make this lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.” [Sen. Thune in his official statement on the issue, 3/16/16]

John Thune now: “We will,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the second-ranking Republican leader, when asked if the Senate would fill a vacancy, even during the lame-duck session after the presidential election. “That would be part of this year. We would move on it.” [CNN7/21/20]